Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 15, 2019 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

4:00 pm
10/15/19 10/15/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracacy now! >> integrity, commitment, and service. these are the attributessf atatiaiana jeffersrson and yet n the early morning of october 11, going alongs s simply with her life, living g a law-w-abiding peaceful life, and
4:01 pm
she was killed d by a reckless t of a fort worth police officer. amy: in fort worth, texas, a white police officer has been arrested and charged with murder after he shot and killed an african-american woman inside her own home. the officer was responding to a non-emergency call aftfter a neighbor saw atatiana jefferson's front door was open. we will speak to civil rights attorney lee merritt, who is representing the jefferson family. then to "homewreckers: how a gang of wall street kingpins, hedge fund magnates, crooked banks, and vulture capitalists suckered millions out of their homes and demolished the american dream." >> 8 million americans lost their homes in the great recession, and all of those homes wenent somewhere. and wewe have not been tracking it. whatat i learned writing my book is thahat a small group of vulte capitalists running donald trump, they are the ones who
4:02 pm
welloff with the killing the rest of us suffered. amy: we will speak to award-winning reporter aaron glantz on his new book, "homewreckers." all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. syrian troops have advanced across northern syria after the syrian regime struck a deal to protect the kurds from turkey's deadly air and ground assault. the deal comes after the united states pulled its troops out of northern syria, paving the way for the turkish offensive. on monday, the u.s. announced it is imposing sanctions against turkey over the military offensive and called on turkish president recep tayyip erdogan to implement an immediate cease-fire. vice president mike pence and national security adviser robert o'brien will soon travel to turkey. this is pence speaking monday. cook's president erdogan reached out and requested the call.
4:03 pm
tosident trump communicated him very quickly that the united states of america once turkey to stop the invasion, to implement an immediate cease-fire and to with kurdishtotiate forces in syria to bring an end to the violence. amy: "the new york times" is reporting that u.s. state and energy department officials have been considering plans to evacuate the approximately 50 tactical nuclear weapons the ununited states s storeses at te incirlik air base in turkey. the committee to protect journalists says a turkish air strike on a civilian convoy killed a journalist and wounded at least four others in northern syria sunday. the slain reporter, saad ahmed, was a syrian kurdish journalist for the local agency hawar news. the london-based syrian observatory for human rights says at least five other civilians were also killed in the turkish airstrike. the invasion has forced over one
4:04 pm
-- 100,000 civilians to flee the area, and has provoked international outrage. all 28 european union member states have now agreed to stop selling ararms to turkey, an unprecedented step toward a nato member. turkey launched the invasion after president trump had a conversation with the turkish president erdogan. in news from washington, president trump's former top russia adviser fiona hill testified in front of the house intelligence, foreign affairs, and oversight committees monday as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. she told lawmakers that former national security adviser john bolton referred to trump's personal lawyer rudy giuliani as a "hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up." she also testified that he said, "i am not part of whatever drug deal sondland and mulvaney are cooking up," referring to u.s. ambassador to the european u unn gordon s sondland and white houe acting chief of staff mick
4:05 pm
mulvaney. democrats have accused giuliani of running a shadow foreign policy by pushing for the oustsr of u.s. ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch and pressuring ukraine to investigate former vice president joe biden and his son hunter. hunter spoke to abc monday, saying his foreign business deals showed poor judgment but were not illegal. sondland is slated to testify later this week, so is bill taylor, now the top u.s. diplomat to ukraine. in released text messages between the two men, taylor texted sondland, "are we now think security assistance and white house meeting are conditioned on investigations?" me."and texted back, "call 12 democratic candidates will take the stage in westerville, ohio, tonight for a 2020 presidential debate. heading into tonight, a number of new polls show massachusetts senator elizabeth warren leading
4:06 pm
ththe pack after s surgingng ahf former vice president joe biden. news reports say former new york city mayor mike bloomberg is reportedly considering jumping into the democratic primary race if joe biden withdraws. the cnn and new yoyork times-hoststed debate e will ben at 8:00 p.m. eastern standard time. in fort worth, texas, white police officer aaron dean has been arrested and charged with murder after he shot and killed a 28-year-old african-american woman named atatiana jefferson inside her own home. officer dean was responding to a non-emergency call from a neighbor for a wellness check after the neighbor saw jefferson's front door was open. soon after the officers arrived, dean shouted through jefferson's bedroom window to put her hands up and then immediately opened fire, killing her. he never identntified himself aa policece officer. minutes before the shooting,
4:07 pm
jefferson had been playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew. this is the family's attorney, lee merritt. >> this was a wellness. it is beyond me to begin understand what kind of police force response to a wellness call with the equipment of swat. this department and their officers violated not only the rights of atatiana jefferson and her family, but they just made common sense mistakes. attorneyill speak to lee after headlines. a federal judge has ruled that president trump broke the law when he declared a national emergency in order to secure billioions of dollars of pentagn funds to build his border r wal, parts ofof which are already unr construcuction. federal districtct court judge david briones said friday trump violated a provision of budgdget
4:08 pm
law approved by congress. meanwhile, in arizona, a video has gone viral showing bulldozers destroying protected cacti to make way for the wall, which is slated to cut through the oregon pipe cactus national monument, an international biosphere reserve. the trump administration has waived 41 environmental rules in order to allow for border wall construction. trump has said his border wall will be impenetrable and claimed 20 world class mountain climbers said it would be hard to climb. but a slew of amateur climbers have easily scaled a prototype of the wall built by the owner of a climbing park in kentucky, including an eight-year-old girl named lucy hancock, who scaled the wall in about a minute. protests are continuing in barcelona, spain, following the spanish supreme court's decision to sentence nine catalan separatist leaders to prison over their role in catalonia's 2017 bid for independence.
4:09 pm
on monday, thousands of protesters blocked access to barcelona's airport. more than 100 flights were canceled. in mexico, 14 police officers were killed in an ambush in the state of michoacan. the attack is being blamed on the new generation jalisco cartel, which is battling for control over the methamphetamine, avocado, and lime industries in the southwestern state. in hong kong, tens of thousands of activists rallied monday, calling on u.s. lawmakers to pass the "hong kong human rights and democracy act." the lelegislation could be discussed by the house as early as this week. it would allow for sanctions to be levied against those deemed to be suppressing basic freedoms in hong kong. protests were also held across hong kong over the weekend, with at least 200 peoeople arrested. the city of london has banned all extinction rebellion
4:10 pm
protests and cleared the protest encampment at trafalgar square after over 1400 people were arrested in eight days of mass demonstrations demanding urgent action to address the climate crisis.. on monday momorning, hundrdredsf people blockcked traffic outside the bank of england, while other activists glued themselves to the offifices of barclays baban, military contractor bae system, and asset manager blackrock. >> this company are one of the major reasons the earth is such a mess. i know there will be people inside black walk whwho are working -- like rock who are working hard. surely, they will get the message that they are the ones who are making their future less safe. amy: despite the ban, extinction rebellion protests are contininuing in ndndon today,, where the group's co-founder, gail bradbrook tried to smash one of the windows of the department of transport with a hammer, while other activists glued themselves to the
4:11 pm
building. to see our full interview with dr. bradbrook go to in ecuador, president lenin moreno signed a new decree on monday to revert fuel prices back to the subsidized levels after the government and indigenous groups struck a deal protests.ask of under the agreement reacheded sunday night, ecuador r did not withdrawaw from the $4.2 billion international monetary fund loan from ase and otheher media outlets reported. a special commission has now been set up in which indigenous leaders and other social organizations will negotiate plans to reduce ecuador's deficit. tens of thousands of general motors' workers h have entered their fifth week of strike as negotiations between the united auto workers and the car manufacturing giant continue. workers are seeking higher pay, protection of their healthcare benefits, greater job security and a commitment from gm to
4:12 pm
build more cars and parts in the united states. it is the longest national strike at gm by the united auto workers and nearly half a century. and native american communities marked indigenous peoples' day on monday, holding sunrise ceremonies from coast to coast, from new york city's randall's island to california's alcatraz island. eight states and over 130 cities and counties have stopped recognizing the federal holiday of columbus day and now recognize indigenous people's day. in new york, hundreds of protesters rallied outside the american museum of natural history's statue of u.s. president theodore roosevelt, who is depicted riding on a horse above an indigenous person and enslaved person on both sides of him. protesteters have long calalledr the ststatue's removal. this is daisy bugarin. >> these institutional spaces, try to tell this narrative that never was. by glorifying the supremacist, the white man, and also by
4:13 pm
telling a narrative that is not coming from our voice and having these artifacts are these people that were supposedly -- it is almost as if we were extinct and we are not. we are reclaiming what is our identity and we are also showing the world that we still exist, that we are still resisting. and beyond that, that our struggles are all against capitalism come against imperialism. amy: that is daisy bugarin. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin in fort worth, texas, where a white police officer has been arrested and charged with murder after he shot and killed a 28-year-old african-american woman who was inside her own home. officer aaron dean was responding to a non-emergency call for a wellness check after
4:14 pm
a neighbor contacted fort worth police to report that atatiana jefferson's front door was open at around 2:30 in the morning on saturday. soon after the officers arrivev, dean shouted through jefferson's bedroom window to put her hands up. he then immediately opened fire, killing her. he never identified himself to be a police officer.r. minutes before the shooting, jefferson had been playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew. he witnessed the shooting but was not physically injured. fort worth police sgt. chris daniels announced the arrerest of officer aaron dean on monday. >> the fort worth police department would again like to express our deepest condolences to miss jefferson's family. we understand this is a tough and tragic event, not only for her family, but for the community. we value the trust we have had with our community. we will continue to build that trust. we will continue to be as
4:15 pm
transparent as possible in all police matters. status of the criminal investigation, at approximately 6:00 p.m., aaron dean was arrested for the murder of miss jefferson. amy: officer aaron dean's arrest came just hours after he resigned from the police department amid growing outrage. atatiana jefferson's family also held a news conference before monday dean's arrest. this is the family's lawyer lee merritt addressing reporters. >> i want to go ahead and dispel somehow ahat this is one-off, that this was just a bad luck incident from an otherwise sound department. the fort worth police department is one of the deadliest police departments in the united states. they are in need of serious systematic reform. we are asking the federal government comes in, the department of justice comes in and takes a conscious look at
4:16 pm
ththe policies and procedures tt allowed something like this tragedy to happen. they created a deadly situation, and they responded in a way that is not unique to the city of fort wororth. in the last six months, theyey have had 10 police officer involved shootings, seven officer r involved deaths -- tht is more than most nations for a single city in texas. he represents a serious problem that must be addressed. amy: atatiana jefferson is the seventh person since june who has been killed by one of the police department's officers. her killing comes after white off-duty police officer amber guyger was convicted of murder for killing her black neighbor, botham jean, in his own apartment in nearby dallas. she said she thougug it was hehr apartment. well, for more, we are joined by civil rights attorney lee merritt, who is representing the
4:17 pm
jefferson family. welcome to democracy now! why don't you lay out what you understand took place. jefferson's neighbor, her family calls her law the neighbor called enforcement, called a nonemergency number because you notice the doors were open. the doors were open because the family was inside. tay and her nephew zion were inside. they were enjoying the first fall breeze in the texas area. he was concerned the owner of the house, who had a heart condition, may have been suffering an emergency. so he called the nonemergency check on her -- to wellness. he gave them the information that you have, that he was concerned because ththe door was not usually left open. the city of fort worth responded by sending out a tactical unit, their equivalent of swat.
4:18 pm
they parked their cars around the corner, crept up to the property, past to openen doors d went around the back of the officers,ith unmarked without announcing themselelves, wewearing blackk uniforms becaue of their tactical position. as they were creeping around the back of the house, tay from the inside and her nephew zion, heard noises. tay went to the window to investigate. the next thing that shee knew,w, there was an officer, someone she would not have known to be a police officer, shouting seconds and within .6 after the command, he shot her. of what you said in the press conference and what people are aware of, there have been 10 shootings and basically less than six months -- seven of them fatal -- by the fort worth
4:19 pm
police department. this is a police department that has less than 1700 officers. this is an astonishing number. what is your sense of what is going on in fort worth? >> well, that is really the important question. it is significant at this point because i believe they're going to try to scapegoat this officer who has been with the force less than a year. he is a problem and should be prosecuted. whwhat he did was criminal. but who gave him the order to show up to this private home with a tactical unit? and what is going on in the police culture in fort worth that is allowing for deadly force to be used so often? is there de-escalation training? are they recruititing the appropriate individuals to serve as a police's within this community? are they responding differently to black communities than they are for predominately white areas within the city? all of these things need to be
4:20 pm
brought into question as we move on not only from this tragedy, but figure out how to stop these things from reoccurring. amy: i want to get your response to former fort worth police chief joel fitzgerald who released a statement criticizing sunday the city's handling of the shooting. he said -- "yesterday, a different officer shoots an innocent woman in response to a welfare check call. in response we have been presented with blurred pictures of an alleged weapon, a five-minute press conference with no details from a lieutenant who to his chagrin, presented no solutions. during this time of crisis, where is the interim police chief? where is poa president manny ramirez? where is mayor price? why weren't they at sunday's press conference? why was no substantive information provided? on may 19, 2019, when my department successfully rescued an abducted girl from a kidnapper, they raced to the microphone to seek credit and fame. yet today, when our community needs them more than ever, they
4:21 pm
are noticeably and inexcusably absent. there is a vacuum of leadership and these individuals must be held accountable." now that is a statement from the former fort worth police chief joel fitzgerald. fitzgerald, who is african-american, was fired in may after a confrontation with the president of a texas statewide police union during a conference and is fighting to get his job back. his supporters say police shootings of african-americans have skyrocketed since his firing. his attorney, stephen kennedy, said in a statement -- "had dr. fitzgerald been reinstated months ago, atatiana probably would be alive today, and the number of police shootings would not be in double digits." lee merritt, are you also calling for his reinstatement and do you share his assessment? >> i share his assessment, but the numbers were significantly better during chief fitzgerald's tenure. i look forward to leadership
4:22 pm
within the fort worth police department that reflects the words he is saying, but the whilees that he pursued chief of police did not reduce incidences of brutality significantly. i was first introduced to mr. fitzgerald in the case of jaclyn craig. fitzgerald did do the right thing in that incident where a mother called never -- i'm sorry, called police after a neighbor choked her eight-year-old son. instead of helping that mother with the incident, a white police officer arrived and brutalized that mom and her teenage daughters. she fitzgerald suspended that officer for 10 days, and that was the end of his punishment. and then she fitzgerald went about punishing black police officers who he believed made statements, derogatory, towards howdepartment concerningg
4:23 pm
ththis case was handled by the city. so he is now speaking someme of the same language as those department chiefs that he punished during that incident. i say all that to say the rhetoric is popular right now, but we need people who are actually going to pursue plans, policy procedures, training, and take reall steps in pursuing significant initiative to actually change the policing culture. chief fitzgerald sounds like he is reformed and ready to make some changes, but we need to see that manifest itself in actual action. juan: lee merritt, i would ask about this whole issue of the police unions. in many citieses, the police unions are the ones that have enormous influence over the politicians and how they deal conduct.ce what is the situation there in
4:24 pm
fort worth with the influence of the police unions? obviously, it is kind of strange neither the mayor nor the chief of police attended a press conference to talk about this particular issue. >> yes, the police union in fort worth, just like the police union in the city of dallas, where botham jean was killed, exercise an enormous amount of influence and that infnfluence typically comes down on behalf of police misconduct. ensurerk pretty hard to there won't be accountability for officers s who are engaged r found responsible foror mamalfeasance. have blood onons their hands, to speak frankly, and it is that culture that share in the blame for the
4:25 pm
staggering numbers that you see coming out of fort worth. amy: i want to go to james smith, tay jefferson's neighbor, who called the police -- actually called the non-emergency line. he is speaking to the fort w woh star-telegram. >> 2:00 i got a call from my knees and she alerted me that my neigighbors dodoor was open. both upper front doors are open, which is unusual. i came over to see if there wass anything wrong. i noticed all of the lights in the house were o on. i did not see any movement. i went back home a and called te fort wororth police e departmeno do a welfare check to make sure my neighbor was ok. 15 minutes later, i heard a loud or r 10d i saw five police officers surround the house. i don't know what happened on insidede of the house. all i know is my neieighbor is dead.
4:26 pm
they came out and got a statement for me because i was the one who called them. they took my statement and told me a detective w would come talk to me and tommy what is going on. i have yet to see the detective. amy: again, that was james smith, calling for a welfare check, known as a wellness check come to check that everyththings ok. on monday, atatiana's sisister amber carr spokoke at a news conference. her r young son was s with her sister tay playing video games when former fort worth police officer aaron dean opened fire, killing g her with one shot. who witnessed the that hehe would think would showow some typepe ofadnes or e emotions. but the first time i actually got to see himim and pick him up from a facility for children, the first thing he told me was he was sad. i asked him why he was sad.
4:27 pm
and he tetell me because the police had killed -- had his aunt. at that time, , i knew nothing about that. so he was the one who actually totold me what h happened. he is myis time, motivation and he is my biggeset encouragerer in the m middle ofe night when i'm crying, he wakes up and tells me to breathe and mymy nose and out my m mouth. he holds me. he hugs me. and thesee are the things i should be doing for him. amy: again, that was amber carr. it was her little boy, eight-year-old zion, who was with his on tay. they were playing video games in the bedroom when the policice ofofficer aaroron dean simply on fire within a second of looking in that window. apparently, the police department was about t to fire m but he resigned first and then he was charged with murder. lee merritt, that is very
4:28 pm
unusual. can you talk about your response to this charge? shows the fort worth police department isis aware of how not only how bad this incident is, but how on the brink the community is. if they had not made an arrest with an appropriate charge, there was going to be civil unrest in the city. and appropriately so. not only is this murder devastating to the community, it came at a time where people are beginning to realize throughout the dallas/fort worth area that thee policing culture is out of control. that clip of 10 officer involved shootings in this one really small city in the state of texas is unacceptable. and as you all know, it is just indicative of a policing culture throughout the united states that represents one of the deadliest police culture in the
4:29 pm
modern world. there are not too many nations that can compare with the united states in terms of what we allow for the use of force. it is something the community is awakened to. they're not going to continue to tolerate it. juan: lee merritt, what about the issue there were, at least in this instance, there was videocam footage of the officer's camera? had there not been, that it would have been basically whatever the officers on the scene claimed happened, would've had a lot more credence. to what degree do you think this was important or critical in this particular case? and the fact it was released so quickly. often, police department hold back on holding -- releasing such video. >> the bodycam footage throughout the united states has played a pivotal role in holding police officers accountable. sometimes when we donon't see te community investment is when the videos are withheld from the
4:30 pm
public until public outcry dies down. it was c critical that the video was released so quickly, that we can learn what hahappened. otherwise, it would be the word of an eight-year-old versus that of the law enforcement community of the city of fort worth.h. i spoke with zion the day after this happened. he recalled in vivid detail everything that happened that night. unfortunately, he is going to probably play a pivotal role in this case because this officer is not going to simply accept his he is responsible for actions. this will likely result in a trial. and zion is going to have to and this family is concerned about his psychological well-being, making sure he receives the treatment that he needs. amy: i want to go to fort worth past of tatum speaking monday.
4:31 pm
>> the only one i guess we could say, heyey, a mistake isis a mistake. but we're going back to 2009 when michael jacobs was killedd wiwith 55 taserss on a welfare check. we are talking about rara thomas was taking his children for their birthday. police pululled him over, shoot2 times in the car. we're talking about kevin goldstein who is going to the times.shotot over 12 we are talking about so many 20, 2019, wemay -- 10ad 10 -- not 9 police-involved shootings with over seven of them being african-american. in the last three were all under 34 amy: that is pastor tatum. lee merritt, i would ask about the neighboring city come about
4:32 pm
dallas come about the recent killing of joshua brown, who was a key witness in the murder trial of former dallas police officer amber guyger. brown lived across the hall from botham jean, a black 26-year-old accountant who was shot and killed in 2018 inside his own apartment by his neighbor amber guyger, who was a white officer come off duty at the time. during the trialal, brown gave emotional testimony about hearing gunshots the night of -- boththam jean's murder. two days after guyger was sentenced in the case, joshua brown was shot to death outside his apartment. dallas policice have arrested to suspects and have identified a third in brown's murder, which they chararacterize as a drug dl gone bad. the dallas naacp is calling for an independent investigation. lee merritt, you represented the botham jean family in the trial. now you also represent the family of joshua brown.
4:33 pm
can you giveve us the latest? >> well, the dallas police department is chugging forward with an investigation that will the community until theyy hold i it over to o a disinteted third party investigator. they have found witnesses and evidence and they presented that to the public. setfor a significantnt through the community, basically rejected their findings because dallas, whether they like it or not, whether there is even evidence of it or n not, is implicated in this murder --ause it came at the time two days after conviction for dallas police officer during a trial that revealed corruption within the city of dallas. you ask yourself, is the dallas police department capable of murder? well, yeah, police officer was just convicted of murder. are they capable of this level
4:34 pm
of corruption? well, yeah, during the trial you learned dallas police officer assosociation president actually covered up for the murder amber guyger. she wastment -- actively deleting text messages as it relates to this case. the dallas police department is not qualified to o perform this investigation. i have a vested interest in ensuring that the conclusions of their investigation into the murder of joshua brown is reliable to the community because i don't want the chilling effect of individuals afraid of testifying against policece officers in fear of retrtribution. this investigation must be done thoroughly but must be done by someone who is not impmplicatedn the case. juan: you wrote on social media that -- "the state knew joshua brown didn't want to testify due to concerns for his safety. he flew to california when the trial began.
4:35 pm
they threatened him m with jailf he didn't return. he went straight from the airport to the court. dallas county has a duty to protect him. they failed." >> that's right. that is what the family has hired me to investigate, is how much did the city know? i have learned that not only joshua brown reported to the da that he was not interested in testifying in this trial, but thth his mother who is a bit of a helicopter mom said she told the da herself when they were looking for him to present during the grand jury testimony that he was afraid to testify in this trial. when y you have thatat kind of concern from a citizen thahat yu aree asking to speak, you have n obligation to provide every protection necessary. it is important to know that joshua brown's testimony, while emotionally jarring and powerful, was not necessary in
4:36 pm
this trial in order to obtain a conviction. everything he testified to was brought in through other witnesses. because of the compelling nature of his testimony, he was labeled a key witness. but he certainly wasn't a critical witness in the sense that without him, conviction would likely still have occurred. amy: finally, we just have a minute, but what does this mean for the community? you go from the amber guyger trial, conviction, and 10 year sentence for the white police officer who killed botham jean, nowhe murder of joshua, and -- joshua brown, and now you have atatiana j jefferson just gunned down in goal blood in her bedroom by police officer, now charged with murder. dfw,r the community o of the what it is called locally, the dallas/fort worth area, the
4:37 pm
community is fed up of police brutality. it has always been intolerable, but because of the series of events happened active active back on a nationalal and internationanal scale, there are so many people who have focused their attention on the dfw area. we are not going to allow law enfoforcement to scapegoat officers or make excuses or justifications. we are all realizing collectively that there is a deeper problem that is further rooted in racism, further rooted far tooture that allows much brutality without accountability. and they're going to have to be signifificant long-term changes and it is s not going to hapappn ththrough osmosis. people are going to have to get out into the streets and fight, show up to the polls and fight for it. they're going to have to sit around in thinink tanks within e community anand come up withth w planans and nenew initiativivesl this issue i is resolved. thisis is not going to stop with
4:38 pm
the conviction of f this officer because e we realilize with the conviction of amber guyger, it was simply not g going to be enough to solve e the problemem. because days later, bodies began to pile up again. this is s ing to require a long-term campaign. i believe the dallas/fort worth area will be ground zero for that campaign. amy: lee merritt, thank you for being with us, civil rights attorney representing the family of tay jefferson atatiana , jefferson. when we come back, aaron glantz on his new book "homewreckers: how a gang of wall street kingpins, hedge fund magnates, crooked banks, and vulture capitalists suckered millions out of their homes and demolished the american dream." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
4:39 pm
amy: "trouble so hard" by vera hall. this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: 12 democratic presidential hopefuls will spar this evening at otterbein university in westerville, ohio, during the fourth official democratic primary debate.
4:40 pm
as voters weigh their options, one of the pressing issues on many americans' minds is housing. independent senator bernie sanders of vermont is the latest 2020 democratic presidential candidate to release a comprehensive "housing for all" plan. he has advocated for rent control, called for big investments in affordable and subsidized housing, and has also pushed for reforms in zoning laws to allow construction in more expensisive neighborhoods. meanwhile, massachusetts senator elizabeth warren introduced the "american housing and economic mobility act" last year which is the basis of her proposed affordable housing plan calling for expanding fair housing legislation, building or rehabilitating millions of low and middle income housing units, and reforming zoning laws. several other candidates, including senators cory booker and kamala harris, have released detailed plans to tackle the housing challenges of ordinary americans, many who are still struggling after the devastating 2008 housing market collapse.
4:41 pm
amy: well, we spend the rest of the hour on a new book that looks at the devastating legacy of the foreclosure crisis and how much of the so-called recovery is a result of large private equity firms buying up hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes. the book is by investigative reporter aaron glantz called "homewreckers: how a gang of wall street kingpins, hedge fund magnates, crooked banks, and vulture capitalists suckered millions out of their homes and demolished the american dream." in it, aaron glantz revealsls hw the e 2008 housisingrashsh decid mimillions o of americicans' fay wealth but enriched president donald trump's inner circle, including trump cabinet members steve mnuchin and wilbur ross, trump's longtime friend and confidant tom barrack, and billionaire republican donor steve schwarzman. aaron glantz joins us now, senior reporter of reveal from the center for investigative reporting. finalist for a pulitzer prize this year for his reporting on modern-day redlining. "homewreckers"
4:42 pm
comes out today. what an amazing book. lay out what you found. >> first of all, i wanted to know 8 million americans lost their homes in the great recession, but they did not just disappear. so we live now in a society where the wealth gap between the richest 1/10 of 1% and the other 90% is bigger than it has been in 100 years. and so much of americans wealth is in their homes because we have very few other ways to save. so i wanted to know, what happened to these houses? who profited off this mess? that trail let me to a number of people who are in donald trump's inner circle. amy: so talk about them and talk about how they benefited. >> we start with the crash itself in the failure of the banknks. when all of these bad loans came due and there was massive foreclosures, we, the taxpayers, the government, subsidized those foreclosures.
4:43 pm
there were a lot of people who lost money during that time, but there were also people who bet on these failed banks and received government support to foreclose. and that included come as you mention, steve mnuchin, now are treasury secretary. he and his group of other investors including john soros, michael dell, came in and bought indymac bank, which was this failed pasadena california bank. and then proceeded to foreclose on over 100,000 families, including 23,000 seniors. under the deal that he made with the government to acquire this bank, which the government owned becacause it failed, he and his investors pay the government nothing. and then, although he invested some of his money in the bank, we then paid him to subsidize this foreclosures. documents i obtained under the
4:44 pm
freedom of information i showed we paid his group more than $1 billion. wilbur ross, the commerce secretary, had a similar deal at bankunited, which was another failed bank in florida. juan: indymac, as you show in your book, was really the first major bank to collapse and then a series of others happened in 2008. it was basically based on a lot of either fraudulent or predatory lending. if you could talk about that as well? >> there were a lot of predatory loans going round and the housing bubble. at this point, we all know that. what i wanted to know is when there were families who got the so-called ninja loans, no income, no job, no assets, no problem. for these loans that had these teaser rates and then reset at a higher level and you were told to mow, you can just refinance. the main character in my book, sandy jolley, whose family owned their home outside of los angeles for more than 30 years
4:45 pm
until they got a reverse mortgage that sapped their equity. all of these families lost their homes to foreclosure. what i wanted to know was, what happened after? we have been stuck in this country on thihis trauma of 200, 2008, 2000 nine, but here we are in 2019, 10 years have passed the unappointed rate is low, the president tells us everything is grgreat, but people don't feel like everything is great. we have jobs, but what has happened to our wealth? they took it. that is what happened. juan: and the disproportionate impact that this loss of equity in all these homes had come especially on the african-american and latino communities, which were even more dependent on home equity for what little wealth they had or net wealth they had. >> what we see is banks like steve mnuchin's bank concentrated their foreclosures
4:46 pm
in community's of color. and then when they started making loans again, when the economy improved, they did not make loans to those communities. so they wiped out the wealth of these communities with foreclosure, but then over a five-year period, steve mnuchin's bank made three loans to help african-americans buy homes. 11 loans. this is national bank. helped three african-americans and 11 latinos buy homes over five years. and now steve mnuchin, as the treasury secretary, is in charge of regulating every american bank. so he and donald trump picked one of his deputies at onewest bank, joseph otting, for this position called comptroller of the currency, which basically is america's top bank who is in charge of enforcing laws like the community reinvestment act meant to stop redlining. so this bank, which did not make any loans -- hardly any -- to
4:47 pm
communities of color, is now in charge -- this leadership under president trump -- of making sure these a anti-redlining laws are followed. juan: it seems it is not just the trump administration because it was under the obama administration that there was supposed to be some efforts to help homeowners stay in their homes. in fact, julian castro, presidential candidate, was at hud supposedly in charge of the efforts to assist homeowners and that has come under heavy criticism. what the obama administration did to help these homeowners. >> this book, some say it is an anti-trump book because it has donald trump on the cover holding what's of cash w --ads of c cash, but all of this activity happened, as you mentioned, when barack obama was the president. the homeownership rate in america, this is what got me started on this book. this is an investigative book and took years to write. i started working on it in 2016
4:48 pm
when i did not know who the new president was going to be. but i noticed the homeownership rate in this country, instead of going up during the economic recovery, it kept going down. until 2016n in 2012 when a bottomed out at its lowest rate in over 50 years. that is when i started asking the question, who profited under obama? amy: tell us more about tom barrack and steve schwarzman. and the relationship with trump and what they did. >> so tom barrack is donald trump's oldest friend, closest friend, introduced ivanka at the republican national convention for, and other old trump friend according to media reports, still has the president on speed out. we have been talking about the foreclosures who bought those foreclosures. we have seen a massive transfer one groupmanatt from
4:49 pm
of feelers who got her close to have 3es, but we now million homes in this country and lop shelllp, companies. some of the largest buyers of these homes were these private equity funds run by tom barrack and steve schwarzman. there's now a company called invitation homes, which is founded by blackstone, steve schwarzman's company, owns 80 thousand homes across more than a dozen states. traded companyy so they track clearly their rent increases, the relatively small amount of money they spent on maintenance, and also come in portly, because these people are leveraged buyout kings, they have been taking these homes and bundling them into this new type of mortgage-backed security taking on a 10 of debt. for example, i mentioned earlier sandy jolley, this longtime
4:50 pm
homeowner in los angeles area whose family owned their home for more than 30 years before they were foreclosed on by steve mnuchin's bank. $960hat home is part of a million mortgage-backed security bundled with thousands of other homes. so if you go and look at the property record, you don't see a $20,000 home equity line of credit to remodel the kitchen. you see a $960 million lien on the house taken out by private equity firm. amy: we're going to go to break and come back to this discussion. aaron glantz is our guest. he was a pulitzer prize finalist last year. his new book out today "homewreckers: how a gang of , wall street kingpins, hedge fund magnates, crooked banks, and vulture capitalists suckered millions out of their homes and demolished the american dream." stay with us. dea♪ [music break]
4:51 pm
amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. glantz,t is aaron senior reporter at reveal for the center for investigative reporting. his new book is titled, "homewreckers: how a gang of wall street kingpins, hedge fund magnates, crooked banks, and vulture capitalists suckered millions out of their homes and demolished the american dream."
4:52 pm
juan: talk to us about john paulson, another billionaire hedge fund and equity guy from another big supporter and advisor of donald trump, and his role in all of this. > steven mnuchin, we have ben talking about steve mnuchin the treasury secretary now he bought this bank indymac. he was just the head of a group that bought this bank. juan: he did not have the real money. he had some money, but not the big money. >> he lives in a 6000 square foot apartment in new york, and has more, but that is not the real money. he had made billions of dollars in the run-up to the bus. he saw that we were in a bubble, bet against the american dream come and made a ton of money. and then he is like him ok, now there is a crash. how my going to make money on the way up again? studied the s&l
4:53 pm
bailout come all of these guys looked at the savings and loans crisis in the late 1980's, another time the government intervened and bailed out the rich at the expense of the rest of us come and they used it as a playbook. one of the things they noticed is some of the richest deals come the best deals for the hedge fund guys to come out of the s&l crisis came at the very beginning. that is why they bet on indymac. what is interesting is -- another reason we had to put together this group, if any of these hedge funds had put in more than a certain amount of money into the bank in terms of their share of ownership, they would be regulated as bank holding companies in the government would be able to go in and look at their books. so they all stayed a little bit below that threshold t to make susure they would avoid scrutin. amy: the debate is tonight. the housing policies of the different presidential candidates? >> first of all, i would love to hear them talk about it in tonight's debate.
4:54 pm
the moderators have totally abdicated on asking about issues of economic equity. as you mentioned earlier, elizabeth warren has a plan, bernie sanders has a plan, pete buttigieg has a plan, kamala harris has a plan. i'm not sure if i have heard one from vice president biden. i would like to see them engage on these issues. kamala harris says she wants to put 100 billion dollars toward promoting african-american homeownership. the black homeownership in this rate is below the level that it was at when segregation and discrimination was legal. i would like to hear her talk to elizabeth warren come who is a plan to get massive down payment assistance and rectify redlining. about bernieing sanders plan unring control and affordable housing. this is something where the democratic candidates should engage in the same way they have been engaging on health care, and present the conflicting divisions s and debate. as i m mentioned at the outset, the richest .1 of 1% of the
4:55 pm
american people have the same amount of wealth is the other 90%. america, 80%se in of most middle-class families well goes to only five things -- food, housing, shelter, transportation, health care. all of those other things, besides housing, just disappear as soon as you spend your money. housing is the only way that most americans have to save. the average american family has $4000 in the bank. so either you put your money in equity in your house or you pay it to your landlord. and for the private equity firm, ghost on the bond market. or you have a little bit for yourself. i would like to see the candidates engage on this question. juan: in terms of -- your book also talks about some of the regulators who attempted to do the best they could to deal with the bank failures. sheila bair is highlighted in
4:56 pm
your book. talk about the regulatoryy climate right now in terms of being able to protect homeowners and the lending industry in general. >> i think when i look at the history of america, the thing that jumped out to me was how many people came throughout the whole process with really great ideas that were summarily ignored. under president obama. i write about alan blender, a former number the federal reserve board who in 2008 what with a number of other prominent economists, including members of the conservative enterprise institute and said, what we need is a government run bank. i president roosevelt had during the great depression. each the home owners loan corporation helped more than one million americans keep their homes. it refinanced one out of every five mortgages in urban america. invented the long-term fixed rate mortgage. guess what? it made money for the taxpayers.
4:57 pm
theirerican people paid loans back. after world war ii, with the g.i. bill that help to 4 million americans buy homes. it basically broke even because the gis paid their loans back. instead, what we had over the past decade is this massive government giveaway to private equity and a few people who are now close friends of the president and his administration. the really scary thing is that under president trump, these people are running the country. and so they are, bit byby bit, taking away the few scraps and .eforms that obama put in place defaming the financial protection bureau, we getting the dodd-frank act. we are saying a balloon and number of this new kind of mortgage-backed security. $960 million lien on a single house in south los angeles. so this is where we are at. the people who looted us during the obama years are now running
4:58 pm
the country, and that is why the book is called "homewreckers." amy: what shocked you most? >> i think the thing that shocked me most was how many of these good ideas were proposed and how much they were ignored over more than 10 years, and that there really is no reason that we hahave to be in this situation we in now. amy: i want to thank you so much for being with us. we will do part two and post it online. aaron glantz is a senior reporter at reveal from the center for investigative reporting. his new book "homewreckers: how , a gang of wall street kingpins, hedge fund magnates, crooked banks, and vulture capitalists suckered millions out of their homes and demolished the american dream." that doesn't for our show. happy birthday juan gonzalez! ,happy birthday. juan: we are getting old. getting older than we thought. miguelppy birthday to nogeira.
4:59 pm
congratulations to our producer tami woronoff and her husband david rowley on the birth of their son, quentin akira woronoff-rowley. world,q!o the .hat does it for our show
5:00 pm
japan where authorities are grappling with typhoon hagibis. emergency crews are trying to
5:01 pm
deliver f


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on